HEMT-based receiver arrays with excellent noise and scalability are already starting to be manufactured at 100 GHz, but the advances in technology should make it possible to develop receiver modules with even greater operation frequency up to 200 GHz. A prototype heterodyne amplifier module has been developed for operation from 140 to 170 GHz using monolithic millimeter-wave integrated circuit (MMIC) low-noise InP high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) amplifiers.

The compact, scalable module is centered on the 150-GHz atmospheric window using components known to operate well at these frequencies. Arrays equipped with hundreds of these modules can be optimized for many different astrophysical measurement techniques, including spectroscopy and interferometry.

This module is a heterodyne receiver module that is extremely compact, and makes use of 35-nm InP HEMT technology, and which has been shown to have excellent noise temperatures when cooled cryogenically to 30 K. This reduction in system noise over prior art has been demonstrated in commercial mixers (uncooled) at frequencies of 160–180 GHz. The module is expected to achieve a system noise temperature of 60 K when cooled.

An MMIC amplifier module has been designed to demonstrate the feasibility of expanding heterodyne amplifier technology to the 140 to 170-GHz frequency range for astronomical observations. The miniaturization of many standard components and the refinement of RF interconnect technology have cleared the way to mass-production of heterodyne amplifier receivers, making it a feasible technology for many large-population arrays.

This work furthers the recent research efforts in compact coherent receiver modules, including the development of the Q/U Imaging ExperimenT (QUIET) modules centered at 40 and 90 GHz, and the production of heterodyne module prototypes at 90 GHz.

This work was done by Pekka P. Kangaslahti, Lorene A. Samoska, Todd C. Gaier, and Mary M. Soria of Caltech; Patricia E. Voll, Sarah E. Church, Judy M. Lau, and Matthew M. Sieth of Stanford University; and Daniel Van Winkle and Sami Tantawi of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47664

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
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Development of a 150-GHz MMIC Module Prototype for Large-Scale CMB Radiation

(reference NPO-47664) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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